The Ghost Ship (December 24, 1943)
Released on December 24, 1943: When sailors mysteriously die aboard the Altair some sailors believe that the ship is haunted by killer ghosts, but the third mate thinks that there may be a madman aboard.
Produced by Val Lewton
Directed by Mark Robson
Written by Leo Mittler with screenplay by Donald Henderson Clarke
The Actors: Richard Dix (Captain Will Stone), Russell Wade (Third Officer Tom Merriam and Tertius), Edith Barrett (Ellen Roberts), Ben Bard (First OFficer Bowns), Edmund Glover (radioman Jacob 'Sparks' Winslow), Robert Bice (Steward Raphael), Eddie Borden (crew member), John Burford (crew member), Tom Burton (William Benson), Harry Clay (Tom McCall), Alec Craig (blind beggar), Boyd Davis (Charles Roberts, Dunhan Line agent), George DeNormand (sailor John Corbin), Steve Forrest (sailor), Skelton Knaggs (Finn the mute), Mike Lally (crew member), Sir Lancelot (Billy Radd), Nolan Leary (stenographer), Charles Lung (Long Jim), Paul Marion (Peter, the Greek), Norman Mayes (carriage driver), Charles Norton (German sailor), Shirley O'Hara (Ellen's sister), Russell Owen (crew member), Charles Regan (crew member), Dewey Robinson (crew member'Boats'), Robert R. Stephenson (German sailor), Lawrence Tierney (seaman Louie Parker), Herb Vigran (chief engineer), Steve Winston (Ausman)
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The Authority to Kill
Some pre-1964 U.S. movies enter public domain early because the producer forgets to renew the copyright in the 28th year, as required by the law at that time. Some pre-1964 movies movies enter public domain because when the 28th year arrives the producer or movie studio has gone out of business, with no successor to carry on with the ownership duties. This psychological murder thriller entered public domain for a somewhat unique reason. After three months in theaters it was removed and hidden away because someone accused Val Lewton of stealing the plot of the movie from another script. Instead of defending himself, Val Lewton removed the movie from theaters and it was never again seen for over 50 years. Now this psychological murder thriller is getting an audience bigger than it ever could have gotten if it had remained locked up in copyright prison for 95 or more years and only seen by a few dedicated fans willing to pay the same money to purchase this film as many of the newer, more contemporary films. Oddly enough, the story is so well presented and so macabre that it would well be worth the price of a new dvd from a big studio.
The cargo ship Altair is rumored to be haunted by killer ghosts. Sailors die mysteriously and the superstitious sailors believe that the ship is haunted by ghosts who murder sailors. But we soon suspect that the captain is an insane killer. For the first half of the story we seem to be watching a variation of the movie ‘Mutiny on the Bounty,’ where a loony ship Captain quietly murders crew members and the young third officer can see that the Captain is off his rocker and exposes his dastardly deeds to the crew members and the world . . . . But here the story takes a sudden and evil turn . . . . When the third officer tells his suspicions to the shipping line agent something ominously evil happens . . . . All of the men on the ship give testimony indicating that the Captain is one fine fellow and the new third officer might be off HIS rocker. The third officer decides to leave the ship and find another job before the return voyage, but . . . . He wakes up the next morning in a cabin aboard the Altair after it has left the South American harbor for the return voyage back to the States. The Captain means to kill the young man, and the crew members all believe that the Captain is just fine and the third officer is off his rocker . . . . The young third officer knows that he is marked for murder, and he is alone on a ship where the Captain . . . The Killer . . . Has all authority over everything that takes place on ship. The chances that the young officer will make it back to the States alive are slim to none, and slim left the ship long ago. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Richard Dix and Russell Wade
Alec Craig and Russell Wade
Ben Bard and Richard Dix
Ben Bard and Russell Wade
Charles Lung and Russell Wade
Edith Barrett and Richard Dix
Edmund Glover and Russell Wade
Edmund Glover and Russell Wade
Paul Marion and Sir Lancelot
Richard Dix and Boyd Davis
Russell Wade and Edith Barrett
Russell Wade and Edmund Glover